Twelve TP52s will compete for the 52 World Championship title on the Balearic Waters off Mahón, Menorca starting Wednesday. Whilst there is no denying that Quantum Racing are the stand-out team this season – starting the fourth regatta of the 52 SUPER SERIES with a handsome overall lead on the season standings – it would be no surprise at all if it were to be any one of half a dozen different crews which leave Menorca clutching the title and the silverware next Sunday.
Menorca is a new venue to the TP52 class, and while many sailors have raced at the two previous Maxi regattas, this regatta happens late in the summer while the 2015 and ’14 events were early season, and it is a much more open, unpredictable venue than many that the 52 SUPER SERIES visits.
The combination of an exciting new racing arena, the world title being up for grabs, and a seven week hiatus since the last 52 SUPER SERIES regatta means the mood on the dock in Mahón is positively electric. And the return to the fray of Phoenix, now skippered by Paul Cayard with Peter Holmberg as tactician, adds yet more strength and depth to the high octane fleet.
It is a particularly potent recipe for this 52 World Championship.
Nacho Postigo, Palma-based navigator of Provezza, describes the racing arena as “one of the most open in the Mediterranean”.
“Tactically it will be very open. There is every chance that on the same day two different scenarios will work, two different decisions working equally well. This is what I can foresee here. It is a very difficult area to interpret, to read, with so many different alternatives and options. It will be a great challenge.”
Steve Hayles, the navigator of Rán Racing which won the world title in Miami in 2013 notes:
“It is a smaller island and so the patterns are not so established as in Palma for example. I think we will get a mix of everything here. It is good. It mixes it all up nicely and opens the game right up. Opening day we could see over 20kts from one direction. It tends to be bumpy because there is very little protection and it’s a small island. I think a mixed bag is in prospect. Some guys will have really good days. But I think the problem is putting together a good week. I think it is great to come here.”
“This is not a regatta to look at one boat, or two. It is hard enough to stay ahead of the boats around you. There is no focus on one boat. But to win here things really need to go your way and you need to be absolutely at the top of your game.”
Rán Racing’s owner-driver Niklas Zennström is bouncing with enthusiasm after the break from racing since Puerto Portals in July. He firmly believes his team have the tools to win here and the personnel:
“It is very tricky here. Today for training it was light, puffy, shifty and that opens up the game a lot.”
“Our objective is to win here. This is the regatta to win. I think this will be the toughest and most exciting event of the season. We have to make sure we don’t have the big dips. Most boats are pretty even, you need to minimise the mistakes. The goal is to be top three in every race. Our weakness has been starting. But we are building and learning from what we have learned this season. I am fresh and ready to go!”
After winning the Maxi72 World Championship title last week in Porto Cervo, Quantum Racing’s tactician Terry Hutchinson pours cold water on any loose talk of winning two world titles in consecutive weeks.
“I am not thinking like that.” Hutchinson says, “I am thinking one race at a time.
In the easterly like today it is a very subtle, tricky venue. I feel like a broken record saying this can be the most difficult venue we have sailed. It feels like it will be hard because you just don’t know what will happen 100%.
We want to win all the regattas. The season is the big prize. But this is one which is on our minds to win.”
52 World Championship Race Programme
Tuesday 13th September – Official practice race(s) from 13.00hrs
Wednesday 14th September – WL Races between 13:00 – 17:00 (approx).
Thursday 15th September – WL Race / Coastal Race between 13:00 – 17:00 (approx).
Friday 16th September – WL Races between 13:00 – 17:00 (approx).
Saturday 17th September – Coastal Race between 13:00 – 17:00 (approx).
Sunday 18th September – WL Races from 13:00 and prize-giving ceremony at 17.30hrs (approx).
52 SUPER SERIES – 2016 52 World Championship
Alegre (Andy Soriano GBR/USA)
Azzurra (Roemmers family, ITA/ARG)
Bronenosec (Vladimir Liubomirov, RUS)
Gladiator (Tony Langley, GBR)
Paprec Recyclage (Jean Luc Petithuguenin, FRA)
Phoenix (Richard Cohen, USA)
Platoon (Harm Müller-Spreer, GER)
Provezza (Ergin Imre, TUR)
Quantum Racing (Doug DeVos, USA)
Rán Racing (Niklas and Catherine Zennström, SWE)
Sled (Takashi Okura, USA)
Sorcha (Peter Harrison, GBR)
The 52 World Championship will take place in Mahón, Menorca from 14th-18th September. Racing starts at 13:00 CEST every day, with live coverage on the final three days. You can catch all the action here, on our homepage or via the app. Click the button below to download the race schedule to your calendar, and receive pre-race reminders. Never miss a beat.